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Friday, April 21, 2017

IM4 ** Performance-Leadership ™: The Architecture and Artistry for Captivating an Audience

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A ground-breaking essay with links, pics, and comments along with a new model and method:  the Stress Doc's IM4 Performance-Leadership Formula-Architecture for Captivating an Audience.  MG


IM4 ** Performance-Leadership ™:  The Architecture and Artistry for Captivating an Audience

You know that exuberant feeling when you don’t just “walk your talk,” but have actually r/aced it.  What conditions allow this to happen?  Basically, I call it IM4 **:  The Performance Formula-Architecture for Captivating an AudienceImaginative Mind x Informative Message x Inspiring Messenger x Interactive Medium.  Maybe I’ve stumbled on a new “Triple ‘A’” – Architecture, Artistry & Audience.  Please be patient.  I’m the founder of a new AA group:  Acronyms Anonymous!  Anyway, last week, Wed. April 12th, (fittingly, my birthday), IM4 was in play at a lunchtime keynote for the Virginia Beach-Hampton Roads SHRM Chapter – "Keys to Captivating an Audience."

FYI, here’s a link with lively event pics and comments:


Let me identify the Four IMs and provide brief illustrations of the evolutionary tools and techniques that evoked unsolicited enthusiastic response from participants:

April 12th Testimonials

Mark Gorkin helping us all be better communicators and facilitators at this month's HRSHRM chapter meeting...AND he rapped for us!
Karis T, SPHR, SHRM-SCP  (the photographer and original post person)
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So good to see you again yesterday. You're an absolute delight to listen to and an inspiration for those of us that may be introverted that there is hope to come out of our shell.
K, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
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~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for such a great presentation on Wednesday.  Also, I am hoping we can connect over the phone.  I am doing some presentations and I want to start incorporating some of your great ideas!!!  Thank you again, Susan Barr, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
~~~~~~~~~

Great presentation today. Love that it was so unexpected!
Claudine Baggett, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP; (wonder what she was expecting)
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Definitely engaging!
Michelle Hurst, PHR, SHRM-CP
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The IM4 Performance Formula-Architecture:
Imaginative Mind x Informative Message x Inspiring Messenger x Interactive Medium
                                         
A.  Imaginative Mind

The initial IM needs to kick in way before you go on stage.  Surely, imagination and improvisation are vital tools once in performance mode.  But the foundation or launching pad for high-impact presentational performance is “imaginative preparation.”  Go beyond the logical sequencing of Power Point material and predictable rehearsal.  (Though I have seen a lively presentation that was all cartoon-like slides poking fun of all the “stress carriers” in the legal profession.)  Generate a motivational mix of ideas and interaction.  Pair your concise concepts with “Get FIT” – the Stress Doc’s acronym for FUN-Interactive-Thought-provoking – small group exercises.  (Examples to follow.)  Begin to think like an “Orchestra Leader”:  help individuals and the collective bring out their best music.  At the same time, be sufficiently prepared so you can momentarily go “off message” and spontaneously engage in a “jazz riff” with your audience.  And you’ll still have time for a crowd-cheering solo.  (For me, my solo hits a high note when I suddenly inform the group of my secret identity:  “I’m pioneering the field of psychologically humorous rap music and, as a therapist, calling it, of course, Shrink Rap ™ Productions!  I also break out the Blues Brother hat, sunglasses, and black tambourine regalia.

Not surprisingly, one participant wasn’t sure she was ready to break out in a rap (even if it’s an “Aristocratic Rap”) at her next company meeting.  You can still develop mind-grabbing techniques, e.g., coming out in costume, or having a “Forms Funeral” to enable employees to deal with angst around computer systems changes, the loss of familiar procedures and, in general, an uncertain future.

Finally, the practical application of imagination reminds me that if you can pair a hard to pin down concept – such, as loss or adaptational angst – with a visual metaphor – e.g., “Forms Funeral” – that is, connect the abstract with a surprising or evocative yet relevant concrete image, people will better understand the issue they are facing.  And understanding is the first step towards planning and taking action and, ultimately, having a greater sense of involvement along with control.

B.  Informative Message

One secret ingredient for adding power and punch to content and delivery is pithiness and concept-practice partnership.  After the program, one somewhat startled participant asked if I always presented in this manner, as if it was a radical idea.  Actually, it’s been a trial and error model and method that has evolved and mutated over blood, sweat, and time.  I either provide:  a) potent conceptual bullet points for five minutes (seven at the most) and then move the group into a team exercise that illuminates the streamlined ideas and tools or b) we do the aforementioned “Get FIT” exercise – this platform becomes the springboard for bringing to life concepts, skills, and strategies.  And again, I often use time limits to make sure there’s a vital and continuous ebb and flow between lecture and learning lab. For example, I’ll end an exercise even though the energy in the room is fairly high.  Just means folks will be even more ready for the next experience.

The conscious use of two related elements – time and surprise – also informs my message.  And two paragons of communication – Shakespeare and Twain – would approve.  For the Bard, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”  While for America’s renowned author, speaker, and humorist, “Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation.”  And I’ve come up with two acronyms (actually, one is a redesign), that, hopefully, illuminate these truths:

1) The Stress Doc’s New KISS:  Keep It Short (or Simple) and Smart!  (Much better than the conventional, Keep It Simple, Stupid!), and
2) The Memorable MISS:  Make It Sassy (or Subtle) and Surprising!

In a world dominated by smartphones, your first challenge as a communicator-leader-educator-performer is to get folks to, “Stop, Look, and Listen.”  Message sent cannot equal message received if you don’t have people’s “Attention.”  As one of the above testimonials indicated:  Great presentation!!! I was motivated the moment I entered the door.  A provocative “Short and Smart” Story often does the trick.  After some opening, light hearted patter, I suddenly said, “Hey, we’re gonna have fun…but it’s not all fun and games.  I can be tough.  I recall a Practice Safe Stress program.  A State Department manager, challenged me with, ‘What do you call it if you don’t have any stress?’  My immediate reply:  Denial!”  Not only did I get folk’s attention…I also began cultivating an atmosphere of “Anticipation”:  “What will this edgy guy do next?”  The performance edge:  I want people on the edge of their seats…focused on and taking in my immediate message and wondering about future movement.

C.  Inspiring Messenger

When thinking of inspiring figures, certain people and personality traits typically come to mind.  (I’ll let you fill in the blank; FYI, Abraham Lincoln is at the top of my list.)  However, charisma or a magnetic personality isn’t necessarily the bottom-line characteristic.  For me, language and ideas, passion and courage, engaging and challenging or surpassing the expectations of an audience are a pretty inspiring mix.

Even a thought-provoking exercise can take you and an audience down an inspirational path.  For example, in the recent “Keys to Captivating an Audience” program, I deviated from the norm of the fluff, ice-breaker exercise.  I broke the large group into small groups and, then, in terms of communication substance and style, had them differentiate “compelling” from “captivating.”  (BTW, the idea for this exercise came during my “imaginative” preparation phase.)  In addition to subsequently providing dictionary definitions, I also delineated actual and theoretical polar synonyms that personally illuminate the more inner/forceful-driven nature of “compelling” and the more outer/fantasy-driven nature of “captivating”:

Compelling:  Push…Force…Focus…Purpose…Head…Soul

Captivating:  Pull…Fantasy…Flow…Passion…Heart…Spirit

Compelling gets your attention; captivating is alluring.  And having folks ponder such intellectually and emotionally charged concepts, not only helps grab immediate attention (“I was motivated the moment I entered the door”) but may have future appeal (“I am hoping we can connect over the phone.  I am doing some presentations and I want to start incorporating some of your great ideas!!!”).

In addition, while concept differentiation is an unconventional opening, it was mostly cognitively challenging.  I don’t want the first exercise to be perceived as too emotionally risky.  Initially, the goal is to engage participants by having them feel curious yet comfortable rather than vulnerable.  And, as mentioned, I don’t do superficial!

Quickly Shifting Presentation Gears

Then, as soon as we completed the compelling-captivating exercise, I suddenly did a 180.  Seemingly out of the blue, though, in truth, premeditated, I asked the group, “What do you think of this guy up here, even after just 5-10 minutes?”  I also encouraged them to share “pros and cons” – e.g., whether they see me as being “serious, silly, or self-centered.”

Most of the comments, alas, were positive – confident, entertaining, passionate, great energy, etc.  I say alas, because a great way of beginning to build trust and, ultimately, inspire is for people to see that you can calmly and coolly handle their criticism.  (Years ago, I recall a workshop participant likening me to Clint Eastwood 😉.)  So, not able to get the external gibes, I poked some good-natured fun at myself.  First, instinctively, in an exaggerated, non-verbal manner, I kept encouraging all the positives:  “Hey, I can listen to this all day…”  But then added a familiar punchline, “You know the old expression:  Vanity thy name is Gorkin!

Actually, from calm and cool to being vital and vain, and all emotional points in between, able to accept and authentically express the myriad parts of oneself – the strong and the vulnerable, the serious and the quirky, to reveal both the cave and stage personae – this is what makes people exclaim, “Wow, you’ve got great energy.”  And, of course, they are really asking, “How do I get some of that?”  (Or as an above testify wrote:  "You're an absolute delight to listen to and an inspiration for those of us that may be introverted that there is hope to come out of our shell.")

Inspiring Factors

As a close to this section, let’s review some of the factors that may have helped folks begin to see me as inspiring:

1.  Language and Ideas.  Not only do I try to make words come alive and paint pictures, but I’m encouraging people to reflect upon or think anew about both common and uncommon terms and ideas.  Recall Twain’s notion of “wit”:  the sudden marriage of seemingly disparate ideas…that may well reveal a greater, perhaps inspiring, truth.  Again, the same gentleman that noted the frequent, yin-yang weave of concepts and exercises, also appreciated my very purposeful use of words.

2.  Courageous.  Courage is not just performing feats of daring under critical or life-threatening conditions.  In my mind, it also means acknowledging and sometimes revealing your warts and weaknesses – sometimes by choice, sometimes involuntarily – whether in an intimate relationship or in a larger social-performance arena.  (I just had a semi-traumatic flashback to the performance anxiety in my early days of Cable TV.)  And it’s also the courage to invite criticism…enough said.  But wait…I believe being audacious involves another character trait:  Being your fullest self with being full of yourself!  Amen and women, to that!

3.  Being Slightly Outrageous.  When someone commented on my unorthodox or “out there” style, my immediate counter:  Nobody’s paying me…I can say whatever I want!   And then gave a “not really” smile while shaking my head ever so slightly.  At minimum, the willingness to speak the unspeakable is often courageous and may be “out-rage-ous.”

4. Self-Effacing Humor.  People often admire “the comfortable in one’s own skin” quality of individuals who can poke gentle fun at themselves.  As I once penned:  People are less defensive and more open to a serious message that’s gift-wrapped with humor.  Getting people to laugh with you, often helps win them over to your side or cause.

5.  Surprising.  Surprising is often at the heart of each of the four preceding factors.  And with this inspiring foundation, there’s not too big a gap from having folks wondering what next you will do to having them see you with a sense of wonder!  Remember, imaginatively playing with serious or substantive content, often makes surprising a springboard to inspiring!

And, once again, I shifted the focus, hopefully building a bridge to the fourth IM.  As acclaimed author and essayist, Adam Gopnik, has observed:  Repetition is the law of nature, but variation is the rule of life.

D.  Interactive Medium

As already noted, having a conceptual discussion introduce a related and illuminating small group exercise generates new sharing and learning flow. Returning to the “great energy” observation in our previous discussion, now the question was, “When do you have your best energy?”  (Or second best, this is a PG-rated program 😉).”  I also asked them to “discuss barriers and bridges to head and heart flow.”  So, we are expanding the inspirational field:  encouraging participants to acknowledge when they are at least passionate, if not inspiring.  Also, motivating them to acknowledge, if not begin to confront, some of those barriers to less censored and more authentic expression.  (Actually, the final exercise, brings this last point to life:  “Share an Embarrassing Moment.”  I also call it the “Confronting Your Intimate FOE” Exercise:  From Fear of Exposure to the Fun of Embarrassment.  Based on the energy and laughter in the room, admittedly after the initial awkward silence, the exercise truly walks its talk!)

Interactive exercises, in addition to creating that conceptual-practical ebb and flow along with facilitating conditions for surprise, encourage all manner and degrees of sharing, self-revelation, and psycho-social engagement.  Let me list five specific features and benefits of creating subgroups of collaboration, for transforming a presentation into a sharing-learning lab and participatory-performance arena:

1. More Active Audience Involvement. Participants become integral players in the show. First, as a presenter, talking less often helps your messaging take on a greater sense of importance, i.e., the “E. F. Hutton” effect. But most important, exercises allow for tapping into the collective experience and knowledge – folly and wisdom – in the room. And having the small groups report back their discussions to the large group helps all feel they are journeying in a diverse yet still common boat. Naturally, the boat may have some holes, and sometimes takes on water. Also, the exercises hopefully become increasingly challenging seas. Still it’s our boat and, by being active players, most are more committed to making this boat – from team to overall presentation – work.

2.  Challenging the “Self”-less Team.  While collaboration is a hallmark of this interactive-team medium, it does not erase individual impact.  I’ve always been vaguely uncomfortable with the wall poster axiom, “There’s No ‘I’ in Team.”  Forget diversity; no different points of view?  Eventually, I decided that while there may, in fact, be no ‘I’ in the spelling of team …There Are Two “I”s in Winning…and these “I”s can “C”:  Winning teams blend Individual Creativity and Interactive Community!  And the benefits are mutual:  creative individuals often challenge a group to move beyond its comfort zone, providing a vision that may open hearts and minds.  And now there’s the possibility for new action.  In return, the collective pulls the creator back from the overly self-centered ledge, while also challenging this unconventional thinker to make her ideas and vision more accessible to and workable for others.

3.  Evolve Openness and Trust.  Exercises are purposefully orchestrated for head-heart difficulty and participant vulnerability.  Initially, all should be able to venture a share without the fear of revealing too much and feeling exposed.  This strategic touch progressively builds intimacy and trust between you and the audience and, most importantly, among team members and the group as a whole.  Of course, it’s not all scripted.  How a group handles conflict can make or break the team experience.  Also, as a leader, I may spontaneously use an exercise out of sequence based on a reading of the emotional energy, or lack thereof, in the room.  (The exercise debrief may need to account for this deviation by encouraging more audience questions and ventilation.)

4.  From Intimacy to Inspiration.  The group exchange of histories, viewpoints, and personalities, the sharing of flaws and foibles, vulnerabilities and idiosyncrasies, help many individuals recognize they are not weird or alone.  (Okay, maybe still a little weird.)  Listening to others stories begins to facilitate a connection based on essence not surface. Stories become mirrors for more candid self-reflection and subsequent disclosure.  In fact, the ability to tell a meaningful and motivational, compelling and/or captivating story helps an individual begin a process of metamorphosis:  from unknown to distinct group member, from intimate peer to inspiring role model

5.  Multifaceted Synergy.  Finally, a playful and problem-solving medium, that is, both high task and human touch, is a powerful platform not just for engagement, nor simply for sharing ideas and emotions.  Small group interaction is the medium par excellence for generating synergy: a) where the rich and unpredictable interaction of the individual parts, that is, distinct individuals plus the complex and coordinated communication among these parts, creates a generative whole; now 2 + 2 = 5.  And perhaps the biggest magical occurrence is when these same parts creatively evolve into productive partners!

Closing Summary

An ambitious model and method has been presented:  IM4 Performance-Leadership:  The Architecture and Artistry for Captivating an Audience.  As has been outlined, the four dynamic, multiplicative components of IM4 Performance-Leadership:

Imaginative Mind:  preparation linking new and surprising components and relationships
Informative Message:  the rich yet concise interplay of concept, skill, and interaction-application
Inspiring Messenger:   a real and risk-taking individual bringing his or her full self to the arena
Interactive Medium:  a sharing-learning lab and participatory-performance platform inviting synergy

Performance-learning formula-architecture has reflected “experimental innovation”:  trial and error (at times a little terror), along with sometimes more, sometimes less tinkering, over the course of four decades. (In hindsight, I wish I’d done more experimenting and adapting.)  Nonetheless, this initial, trail-blazing exposition will provide a pathway for and expedite the learning process of kindred, IM4 Performance-Learning spirits!



Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, a nationally acclaimed speaker, writer, and "Psychohumorist" ™, is a founding partner and Stress Resilience and Trauma Debriefing Consultant for the Nepali Diaspora Behavioral Health & Wellness Initiative. Current Leadership Coach/Training Consultant for the international Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University at the Daytona, FL headquarters. A former Stress and Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service, he has led numerous Pre-Deployment Stress Resilience-Humor-Team Building Retreats for the US Army. Presently Mark does Critical Incident Debriefing for organizational/corporate clients of Business Health Services. The Doc is the author of Practice Safe Stress, The Four Faces of Anger, and Preserving Human Touch in a High-Tech World. Mark’s award-winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" – www.stressdoc.com – was called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR). For more info, email: stressdoc@aol.com.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Tale of Two Dreams: A Streaming Short Story of Loss and Recovery – Part I


The Stress Doc explores transforming two bookend dreams into a powerful and poignant three-part short story -- about losing and rediscovering one's mind and voice.


Having recently given a talk on “Finding Your Voice at Any Age,” I too must walk my talk, perhaps pitter my patter.  Here’s an attempt to encapsulate a dream into a short story.  For me, dreams are not just, to quote Freud, “the royal road to the unconscious.”  Dreams are like a time machine, enabling travel back in psychic space…or a time warp jump to some (un)imaginable future.  And sometimes, in paradoxical fashion, there is a space-time, imaginative stream of confluence of past-present-future.  Like now, using a very recent, up-to-date dream to reconnect to a decades old nighttime visual metaphor-hallucination.  And this psycho-existential gestalt of present and past consciousness ignites a simmering desire:  to explore whether short-story writing can be a part of my creative future?  And desire might not be the right word.  Perhaps it’s a familiar. gnawing obsessive need:  survival in the psychic jungle.  Perhaps branching out once again reflects the wise observation of author and essayist, Adam Gopnik:  Repetition is the law of nature; variation is the rule of life!  It’s my inaugural effort; who knows what subsequent forays will bring, what life may emerge.  What do you think?  Thanks, MG



Fast forward forty years…four decades between iconic-existential dreams.  Yesterday’s subconscious video probably had to do with hearing a support group member talk about a traumatic phase of his young adult life – from losing a two-year old daughter when his ex remarried (turns out, biologically, the child was not his) to the sudden death of a sister in a car accident.  The 40-something held it together while sharing; actually, had a fairly coherent, well-ordered timeline of events, but you could see traces of water in his eyes.

How would he, a senior, recount the early childhood trauma of his life?  As powerful and surprising as the recent dream, a bookend of sorts to his primal family Holocaust dream-nightmare, it did not have the same vivid clarity, metaphoric transparency, and grief-like outpouring of the original.  Nonetheless, he goes back in time; the cloudy mist starts to fade, the memory vault opens, now the visual hallucination envelops him…

They are hurriedly approaching an incoming train at the station.  In truth, it’s less a train than an endless chain of WW II, Nazi-like cattle cars bound for some unknown terror.  The open doors of the car demand their presence.  His uncle is in the lead, moving at a pace and with a purpose in which he and his mother barely can keep up.  The mother-child tandem is slowed as they are holding, no, anxiously gripping, each other’s hand.  In this desperate, symbiotic clutch, it’s not clear who is squeezing harder.  Only that the two are locked into a life and death grip; their survival is inexorably linked to a codependent fate.  Hopefully, his uncle, the boy’s hero, the family member he has always blindly trusted, knows what he is doing.  There’s no time, there’s no peace of mind, to question what is occurring.  He is the good-loyal six-year-old little boy, without voice, in a silent state of panic, robotically doing what he is told.  His mind has mostly shut down; for him, it’s a not uncommon traumatic default, disconnected from his feelings, barely able to notice his surroundings, unable to intentionally focus outward beyond his own consuming sense of dread.  Yet, being an acutely sensitive child, he is subliminally and subtly absorbing an emotionally charged land- and mindscape that overwhelms and basically paralyzes his conscious mind.

But then, just before they are to enter the boxcar, out of the corner of his eye, he notices a human figure slumped against a wall and the station floor.  It his father…with the emaciated look – sullen grayish appearance, dressed in a simple, nondescript manner (neither the worn and tattered rags of one who is homeless nor the stylish manner of dress for which his father was known), sunken eyes, bony angular facial features – of a wasted drug addict.  While he cannot make out more details, nonetheless, there’s a deep sadness, a bowed head, arms encircling bent stick-legs, as if dearly holding onto a mangled two branch life raft.  Ultimately, emanating from his father’s face and bodily form, a sense of resignation and hopelessness – an inability to imagine a future worth living.  The boy knows that face and form.  And why is it that only the boy notices his obviously destitute, pale, and sickly father?  Beyond awareness, at some biologic-psychic conjunction, the existential question echoing deep within: “Who are you?  Who me?!

Finally, he awakens from his dream, more a nightmare, “inspired” by a mid-late ‘70s television special, a historical fiction blockbuster about the Holocaust.  Actually, his nocturnal drama was less an inspiration and more an excavation, a subterranean visual metaphor, resurrected, at the age of twenty-eight or twenty-nine, from the shadows of his soul.  Clearly, the envisaged scene reveals parallels in his mindscape between a dramatic moment of the Holocaust and the secretive “survival” dynamics of his family, dynamics emitting toxic emotional radiation, never acknowledged, let alone discussed throughout his childhood and teen years.  He only learned about his father’s breakdown and hospitalization, and subsequent “rehabilitation” – the shameful family secret – nearly two decades after it occurred.  The boy has a tender psyche, teeming with subconscious images and emotions of abandonment and suffocating closeness, with periods of sheer terror; hallucinatory memories of being swallowed whole inside a woman’s stomach, his only shelter in the storm.  (A little over a year out of graduate school, in his mid-20s, he shared this memory with a Social Worker Manager providing him supervision.  Her non-verbal look of upset told him this was DSM diagnostically serious.)  Formless, unimaginable, and chaotic questions whirlpool about the ground of reality, pulling him down, down…until the questions themselves, along with any self-awareness, go into deep freeze. 

Or, the wake-up dream is a mind-quake revelation.  Never before the Holocaust series has a subterranean video broken his plain of consciousness, capturing the family dynamic with such startling metaphoric clarity.  And the unprecedented subconscious eruption releases a shocking tsunami of emotion. Fortunately, soon after the dream, he was able to cry unashamedly at a woman friend’s house.

On the surface, this inner drama was mostly repressed.  But in the boy’s childhood, so many stressors triggered the everyday fear of being exposed or the humiliation of failing.  Alas, a well-honed mask meant that his acute vulnerability and tension was rarely seen (or was usually denied) by his parents and other significant adults.  There was a poignant exception:  In sixth grade, his teacher, Mr. W, deviating from the class routine, had the students do a free-form drawing exercise.  Likely startled by the boy’s passionate outpouring, in contrast to his typically more passive, quietly anxious, too good persona, Mr. W approached him after class.  Trying to connect with the boy, he says, “You’ll be going into junior high soon; high school is not far off.  Maybe you should think of applying to New York City’s School of Music and Art.”  His puzzlement quickly morphs into subterranean shame and self-doubt.  Not allowing expression to seep through the mask, the boy thinks to himself:  “Mr. W doesn’t think I’m smart enough to go to a regular school.”  And he continues his stony silence.  And the subject is never again broached…with anyone.  And another lock is added to the prison cell.

A primal emotional core of abandonment, emptiness, and loneliness could not be anesthetized, despite all his efforts, one example, through desperate masturbation.   When combining this “troubling trinity” with trepidation around speaking up, rarely displaying any form of real angry protest – with family or bullying peers – the mind-body manifestation was predictable:  a seething and numbing inner mindscape would finally implode with stomach aches, skin infections, difficulty sleeping, etc.  Or an inability to concentrate at school or school work, along with periodic lying, cheating, minor shoplifting (as a young teen, an obvious cry for help).  Now, exploding to the surface chronic symptoms of anxiety, guilt, and shame and, ultimately, unrecognized depression – likely both clinical and situational.  And icing on the psychic cake:  sometimes more, sometimes less overt smoldering dread along with periodic bursts of panic and terror.  The boy’s life invites the paraphrasing of the three-word alliterative original, now an apt psycho-architectural axiom:  form may also follow family dysfunction! 

And Part II will place his primal hallucination, actually, more retrospective family X-ray vision, in some historical and psycho-social context.  (The word psycho-social reminds him that as a speaker after telling an audience he’s a “Psychohumorist, the immediate punchline:  “I let you all decide where the emphasis on that word should go!”  This dream let's him know from where both emphasis and flow and even his quirky humor stem.)  Finally, Part III, will get us current; telling a tale of a life of running:  running from and running to.  And now that he has slowed his gait, in a semi-retired state, where will his mental motor take him?


Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, a nationally acclaimed speaker, writer, and "Psychohumorist" ™, is a founding partner and Stress Resilience and Trauma Debriefing Consultant for the Nepali Diaspora Behavioral Health & Wellness Initiative. Current Leadership Coach/Training Consultant for the international Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University at the Daytona, FL headquarters. A former Stress and Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service, he has led numerous Pre-Deployment Stress Resilience-Humor-Team Building Retreats for the US Army. Presently Mark does Critical Incident Debriefing for organizational/corporate clients of Business Health Services. The Doc is the author of Practice Safe Stress, The Four Faces of Anger, and Preserving Human Touch in a High-Tech World. Mark’s award-winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" – www.stressdoc.com – was called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR). For more info, email: stressdoc@aol.com.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Workplace Going Up in Smoke?: Climb Out on the Stress Doc’s Burnout “Ladder”

This woman works fast!  Yesterday I received the following email:

I'm an editor at Ladders, a website focused on careers and life in the workplace. I'm hoping you might write a brief essay for us or speak to me for a short interview on burnout and how to get over it, in response to this:

https://qz.com/932813/employee-burnout-is-becoming-a-huge-problem-in-the-american-workforce/

Might you have a few minutes in the next few days to speak by phone or write 400-700 words? I'd love to make something work!

More about Ladders: We have more than 2 million monthly visitors and an email newsletter that reaches more than 8 million. We'd link back to your site and share widely across our social networks.

Thanks so much for the time and consideration,

Kirsten

Senior Editor, Ladders

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, by 3:30 that afternoon we began a stimulating half-hour question/discussion exchange. And by this morning, her work/our collaboration was online. Kirsten recorded the conversation and deftly captured the essentials. Trust me, she did a wonderful job sorting out my psychobabble!

I’ve been dealing with burnout since the 1980s – mine and many others. And in 2000, this burnout engine was in full steam mode, at least in the tech world of Northern Virginia…when the industry had its meltdown. Again, it’s in hyperphase and companies are ignoring the "erosive spiral" warning signs…to the peril of both employees and companies.

I’m glad to have contributed to this not just timely but, also, critical piece.

Mark Gorkin

stressdoc@aol.com

www.stressdoc.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ladders Link

https://www.theladders.com/p/17413/overcome-burnout

I overcame burnout. Here’s how you can too.’

Kirsten Salyer

By Kirsten Salyer, Senior Editor at Ladders

Mar 21, 2017



Have you ever felt overworked, stressed, or just plain burned out at work?

You’re not alone.

As productivity has risen and technology has expanded the workweek, wages have failed to catch up. More than half of U.S. workers left vacation time unused in 2015, and surveys have shown that about two-thirds of U.S. workers eat lunch at their desks.

If more employees burn out, it could pose problems for individuals and organizations. As Quartz reported, a recent study found that burnout is responsible for up to half of workplace attrition. Think about that: one of every two workers leaves his job because he just can’t take the stress any more.

Mark Gorkin, who coaches people on how to overcome stress and is the author of Preserving Human Touch in a High-Tech World, spoke to Ladders about his own experience with burnout and his suggestions for how companies and employees can address it in the workplace.

Ladders: What is burnout?

Gorkin: Burnout is the gradual process by which a person detaches from work and other significant roles and relationships in response to excessive and prolonged stress and mental and physical strain. It results in low productivity, cynicism, confusion, and a feeling of being drained and having nothing more to give.

Have you ever experienced burnout?

My first real experience was as a doctoral student. I was trying to do something creative but off the academic wall. At that time in my life, I was immature, and I wasn’t going to let anyone stifle my creativity. But I was being unrealistic, and I eventually burned out.

What I learned is that there are different stages of burnout: physical and mental exhaustion, shame and doubt, cynicism and callousness, and finally failure, helplessness, and crisis.

I went through all of them, and I dropped out of the program.

Why is burnout a problem in the workplace?

Where do you spend most of your time? Most people spend more hours at work than anywhere else.

We live in a driven and distracted world, and management is not taking enough time to really recognize the impact.

One of the consequences is that people feel like they’re being used up. We’re constantly doing more with less.

There are also some people who feel like they’re doing the same thing over and over. They feel like they’re being underutilized and that their talents are not being given a chance.

Burnout can be just the tip of the iceberg. If it goes on, it can cause people to call in sick more, feel distressed, become more passive aggressive, or engage in workplace sabotage.

What can organizations do to prevent burnout?

Good organizations allow people to have a sense of authority, autonomy, and accountability.

The problem occurs when employees have a lot of accountability, but they feel that there isn’t much authority or autonomy. When people feel that they’re in control, they are more stress-resilient.

Organizations should encourage breaks and give their employees a chance to sit down and talk about burnout. They should ask: “Where are people feeling overloaded? How can we give you some support?”

The important thing is to address it not as an individual issue but as a structural issue.

What can individuals do to beat burnout?

Here are some steps I learned in my own personal recovery.

1. Exercise

When I started feeling better, I started an exercise regime. Not only is exercise good for you, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment and control. When you’re feeling burned out, you need to create some rituals that give you a feeling of accomplishment and competence.

2. Laugh

When you’re experiencing burnout, after a while, your funny bone starts to atrophy. I read books, like The Catcher in the Rye, that made me laugh. Watch Friends. Watch Seinfeld. Do something that helps you see the absurdity of life. Laughing helps you feel that you’re not trapped in a black cloud.

3. Reflect

I took a personal retreat and took time to reflect on how I got myself in the burnout predicament. You might feel like you’re in a great position and can’t give it up, but rigid expectations are a formula for burnout.

4. Write

What was really helpful for me was that I started writing. Research shows that when you’re able to write things out, it can be stress-reducing.

5. Reach out

Find a stress buddy. It’s easy to get caught up in the whole process. Find someone at work who will give you honest feedback.

Once you’ve done these things, you’ll be ready to take more risks — whether that means speaking up in your workplace or saying that it’s time to move on.

~~~~~~~~~


Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, a nationally acclaimed speaker, writer, and "Psychohumorist" ™, is a founding partner and Stress Resilience and Trauma Debriefing Consultant for the Nepali Diaspora Behavioral Health & Wellness Initiative. Current Leadership Coach/Training Consultant for the international Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University at the Daytona, FL headquarters. A former Stress and Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service, he has led numerous Pre-Deployment Stress Resilience-Humor-Team Building Retreats for the US Army. Presently Mark does Critical Incident Debriefing for organizational/corporate clients of Business Health Services. The Doc is the author of Practice Safe Stress, The Four Faces of Anger, and Preserving Human Touch in a High Tech World. Mark’s award-winning, USA Today Online "HotSite" – www.stressdoc.com – was called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR). For more info, email: stressdoc@aol.com.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Path of Mastery: Don’t Overlook the Forest-Trees Connection

The Stress Doc critiques two recent speaking performances.  And while he did justice to the individual pieces, did he really see or connect the big picture?

The Path of Mastery:  Don’t Overlook the Forest-Trees Connection

Once again, I’m reminded that it is “The Path of Mastery” …there’s no final destination, at least when it comes to strategic understanding and skill development. 

I led two programs this week, “Finding Your Voice at Any Age,” as a guest presenter for a UU Congregation, and garnered the nickname, Sermonator.  The other, “Leading with Passion Power:  Inspiring with Courage, Clarity & Creativity,” at the Virginia Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) State Conference.  And while both programs basically went well, and some might think me overcritical, there was a pattern in my presentations that needs to be examined and modified.

Seeing the Leadership Forest for the Trees

It might stem from my being an inclusive thinker, a “forest” person.  My drive is to illustrate diverse components, e.g, in my SHRM program, personal energy and passion, loss and “letting go,” disarming power struggles, creative risk-taking, mind-mood motivation and communication, etc., that contribute to the compelling-captivating leadership dynamic.  (We were not able to engage the last section.  However, preparing for more material than I use is not simply, or mostly, an obsessive tendency.  I want the freedom to improvise or spontaneously include concepts or exercises that are the best fit for the learning/relationship building moment.)

And while differentiating each part – power struggles, risk-taking, i.e., “the trees” – through conceptual bullet points and a small group exercise (not necessarily in that order), I have overlooked an important step.  In my mind, having previously worked with the components, I perceive the intrinsic, holistic interrelationship – the trees-forest gestalt.  But I have not asked the participants whether and how they perceive the relationship between each concept-tool-technique segment and the overarching topic of “passion power” leadership.

Perhaps I’m also caught up in that eternal rushing stream.  Being conscious of time constraints (as a Mega Speaker I had two hours), once finishing a particular conceptual segment, I’m moving on to the next tree.  If not careful, my inclusive thinker bias can lead to overload.  Realistically, I may need to display a tree sample rather than all the forest trees. 

Song and Voice Connection

The UU program was an opportunity for me to illustrate a number of different scenarios for discovering and cultivating a voice:
1) playing with kids or recalling childhood pain and conflict,
2) communing with nature, and
3) being conceptually challenged – by a colleague to expand both my range and focus or by my own churning-on-a-creative-problem mind…leading to an “Aha!’ moment:  when a vision leads to a voice!

In the presentation, one personal learning curve segment stands out.  I showed an anti-bullying power point slide song.  It’s to the tune of the children’s camp favorite, B-I-N-G-O.  (“There was a farmer who had a dog, and BINGO was his name, oh.”  I turned B-I-N-G-O into…

In my school there is a kid      
And Bully Boy’s his name, oh
Blaming me for what he did
And tries to make me cry, oh…

B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y…
And Bully Boy’s his name, sigh.

(Email stressdoc@aol.com for more info on how the song can be used as an educational/discussion tool.)

I was pleasantly surprised.  The wide-ranging in age adult members were really into singing the chorus.)

Anyway, after the program over lunch, a friend and I did a debrief.  She thought the pieces all fit my “Finding Your Voice” theme except, perhaps, the “BULLY Boy/Girl” Slide Song.  When I said, the song speaks of the child turning to a trusted adult which, in turn, helps him stand up to the bully…the voice connection was clear.  However, she insisted, I needed to underline for the audience the moral of finding your “standing up to the bully” voice.

And she was right.  Either I need to make the point or, even better, take the time and have the audience make the connection between “the trees” – anti-bullying song – and “the forest” – “Finding Your Voice” sermon theme.

Closing Summary

So, my learning takeaways:

1.  Be flexibly realistic about the optimal number of program trees and your allotted time
2.  Don’t quickly move on to the next foundational piece after illustrating through concept summary and group exercise a particular tree
3.  Recognize that grasping a tree does not mean having a handle on the forest context
4.  Make sure you check in with your audience after each tree illustration, ideally providing them an opportunity to make their own forest-tree connection.

Amen and women, to that!


Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, a nationally acclaimed speaker, writer, and "Psychohumorist" ™, is a founding partner and Stress Resilience and Trauma Debriefing Consultant for the Nepali Diaspora Behavioral Health & Wellness Initiative.  Current Leadership Coach/Training Consultant for the international Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University at the Daytona, FL headquarters.  A former Stress and Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service, he has led numerous Pre-Deployment Stress Resilience-Humor-Team Building Retreats for the US Army.  Presently Mark does Critical Incident Debriefing for organizational/corporate clients of Business Health Services.  The Doc is the author of Practice Safe Stress, The Four Faces of Anger, and Preserving Human Touch in a High Tech World.  Mark’s award-winning, USA Today Online "HotSite"www.stressdoc.com – was called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR).  For more info, email:  stressdoc@aol.com.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Discovering and Declaring Your Genuine Voice: Lessons for Any Age or Stage – Part II

Beginning to prepare for my Sunday, March, 12 guest sermon debut for the Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists.  The invitation itself has added to my conception-label of role and voice with the help of my “sister.” Miss Eva added to the litany of nicknames over the years bestowed and self-generated:  Stress Doc ™, Motivational Psychohumorist ™, Shrink Rapper ™, and the latest – “The Sermonator” ™.  (The UU gathering is north of Baltimore; 2912 Club House Road, Finksburg, MD 21048.  Services are from 10:30-12:30pm; http://cedarhurstuu.org/home/;  Contact:  info@cedarhurstuu.org.)  The sermon theme:  “Finding Your Voice at Any Age.”  So, it’s a good time to complete Part II of “Discovering and Declaring Your Genuine Voice.”  The opening segment (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/discovering-declaring-your-genuine-voice-lessons-any-age-mark-gorkin) explored the meaning of “discovering and declaring your voice” and also outlined the first five Finding Your Voice Lessons:
1.  Confront Your Intimate FOE
2.  Play with a Child
3.  Try Poetry and Pictures
4.  Be Out-Rage-ous
5.  Recognize It’s a Digital World.

Time to ring out 6-10.  P.S.  Would love to meet you on the 12th.

The Stress Doc’s Finding Your Voice Lessons – Skills and Strategies:

6.  Quietly Listen and Blend the Unconscious and the Conscious.   Discovering your voice begins in the quiet recesses of your unconscious cave-mind.  First you listen for the subterranean ebb and flow:  the confluence of subconscious images and intuitions, shadowy ideas and insights streaming randomly and/or rhythmically from the psyche, heart, and gut.  Then, after a while, your conscious mind comes into play, akin to slowly awakening from a dream state.  Now you ponder or, as likely, mentally meander through the compelling imagery that survives the unconscious to conscious transition.  Turning over the mind-body fragments, feeling some tension as you look for Lego-like connections among the discrete, kaleidoscopic bits of data, until the psychic path fades out or…Aha!

7.  Envision a “Cutting Edge” Voice.  Building on #6, let me illuminate that unconscious-conscious-creative path by drawing on parts of the “Introduction” from my recent e-book, Preserving Human Touch in a High-Tech World.  In the early ‘90s, living in DC, I was invited on a radio show hosted by an African-American woman to talk about stress.  We hit it off; upon discovering she had some connections to the music industry, I sent her a bluesy/rap-like verse penned a few years earlier, while living in N’Awlins.  Here’s the opening:

The Burnout Boogie

Well I got the burnout boogie
My mind just wants the snooze
Well I got the burnout boogie
Guess it's time to sing the blues.

(Chorus)   'Cause I'm all burnt out
                 And I'm full of self-doubt
                 All I want to do is shout
                 And baby, just get the hell out.

Now the boss says, Do this project!"
And you know I'd like to please
But I'm feeling like a reject
And I'm down upon my knees.

Well I got the burnout boogie
So I guess I must refuse
Well I got the burnout boogie
Man, I need to take a cruise.

(Chorus)

Rap was starting to catch on big-time.  In addition, she was also promoting a beauty contest, and I volunteered to write a thematic anthem – “The Electrifying Lady.”  It wasn’t selected, but got serious consideration.  (They were confused by my line, “She's a sister and a brother.”  Guess when it comes to male/female psychological ambidexterity and/or gender possibilities I was just ahead of the times.)  Here’s the opening stanzas and chorus:

The Electrifying Lady

The Electrifying Lady
The hottest in the land
Her look will drive you crazy
Her mind is in command.

The lady's smart and sassy
So don't tell her where to go.
She's not your little lassie
This Black Goddess stops the show.

     'Cause Electrifying Lady is shock energy
     For a mind and body surging to be free.
     Now Lady Electric just don't know her place
     That Ms. E. L. is hyperspace.

©  Mark Gorkin   1992
"Shrink Rap" Productions
[Email stressdoc@aol.com for the entire lyric.]
~~~~~~~~~~

In the meantime, a month or so passed without a word about my “Boogie.”  So, I called the radio host.  She had sent it to a rap group in LA who liked it…but then the LA Riots broke out.  She hadn’t heard anything.  I guess it became “The Burnt-Up Boogie!”

From Twilight “Aha!” to Out of the Rapper Closet

To put some closure on this meandering tale…one morning in bed, in a dream-like state – neither sleeping nor awake – I start musing:  “Mark, you’re a therapist, you’ve been a university professor…what are you doing trying to write rap lyrics?”  And then, percolating up from dawns early depths, pushed to consciousness by identity conflict…a flash out of the contradictory haze:  “Of course, you’re into Shrink Rap.”  And eventually, a paradoxical insight:  A new voice may emerge from a novel vision of self!

And with the early ‘90s concept, a number of works quickly followed, with a Shrink Rapper twist.  After hearing the original “Stress Doc’s Stress Rap” ™, an African-American lawyer-friend noted:  “Oh, so you’re into ‘Aristocratic Rap.’”

Finally, talking of finding a new voice, it took some “trial and terror” to basically lose all inhibition and sense of proportion.  With an evolving entertainer’s mindset, I added a Blues Brothers hat, black sunglasses, and a black tambourine.  Now I started performing my homegrown rap during “Practice Safe Stress” speaking programs and workshops.  To this day, with a tad more method than madness, I don my ensemble, one by one, while slyly acknowledging a secret identity.  (Naturally, I share the suspicion that the audience might prefer my keeping this secret in the closet.)  Alas, too late…”The hat’s out of the bag.  I'm pioneering the field of psychologically humorous rap music and as a therapist calling it, of course, 'Shrink Rap' ™ Productions."  Predictably, there's an audible groan from the audience.  And my response:  "Groan now.  We'll see who has the last groan." And then, “The Stress Doc’s Stress Rap”:

When it comes to feelings do you stuff them inside?
Is tough John Wayne your emotional guide…
To…
Now I made you feel guilty, you want to confess
Better you should practice “The Art of Safe Stress!”

In truth, initially, mouths are agape.  Midstream, people are laughing knowingly, spontaneously providing rhythmic backup and, by the end, hands are engaged in energetic applause.  Of course, as the clapping subsides, I get in the last word, declaring:  “I’ve been doing this long enough…I know when an audience is applauding out of relief!”

A Closing Musing:  A twilight vision crystallized the edgy Shrink Rap concept, placing me on an ever-
evolving, “Four ‘C’-ing Psychohumorist Path-Voice”:  Seeking to be Creative-Courageous-Comedic-Compassionate!

8.  Reflect on Nature.   The recesses of the mind and being somewhat “out of your mind” help cultivate a newfound voice.  However, so too when outside the mind’s normal chattering state, that is, when meditatively and then poetically absorbed in the wonders of nature.  Consider this passage from my essay, “Gospel of a Country Road,” based on a mid-October, overnight retreat to a remote mountain village in Helvetia (“Little Switzerland”), West Virginia:

And speaking of the brain and the senses, for me, the color of the leaves also evokes an overpowering chemical reaction. When bathed in sunlight, the shimmering waves of lemons and apricots and orange-cranberry hues overwhelm the logical left-hemisphere. All I can do is gaze and sometimes gasp. And from a distance write:

The forest as the artist/Trees willowy and bold
The brushstrokes of the branches/Leaves afire red and gold.
And then God-like fingers/Stream down from above
Solar rays caress you both/A touch of nature's love.


[From my "Mountain Vision" lyric.]

While not brilliantly breathtaking, the colors have a more subtle, a more mature beauty this year. (Maybe it's a projection of a fifty-year-old psyche ;-)

And when the color disappears and night descends, then the other big picture show takes center stage. Walking in the cool, clean, crisp mountain air, down another country road, beyond the last remnants of man-made lighting, reveals the truly majestic and miraculous mystery. As wonderful as cyberspace is, it can't compete with the real thing.

9.  Allow Yourself to Be Challenged.  Accepting an unexpected assignment or the challenge around a performance task, or emotionally stretching outside one’s relationship comfort zone, can be the impetus for a new or expanded voice.  For example, recently, a friend strongly suggested that I transform my anti-bullying Power Point Slide Children’s Song (to the tune of the camp favorite, "B-I-N-G-O") into a lyric for adults.  Actually, many adults, upon hearing or hearing about my child’s' version say, in essence, bullying is not just for kids...It's rampant in the workplace!

My initial “adult version” angst was brought on by self-comparison:  would I be able to generate a worthy companion piece to my child’s lyric?  Eventually, I followed my own risk-taking advice:  Aware-ily Jump In Over Your Head! and “Strive to Survive the High Dive.  Would love to hear your thoughts on my meeting the challenge.  If inclined, feel free to share...maybe slip it under someone's door! ;-)  P.S. If you'd like to see the original Bully Boy/Girl Slide Song, just e-holler.

BULLY Guy/Gal:  A Workplace Variation

[In this version, the four (or five lines) of each stanza are sung with the same melody as in the original.  The same rules apply to the B-U-L-L-Y chorus as in the B-I-N-G-O chorus.]
~~~~~~~~~~~~

At my work, there’s a “big” dude
And Bully Guy’s his name, oh
Blaming me for what he did
Pumps his inflated ego.

B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y…
And Bully Guy’s his name, sigh.

Stalking me all down the hall
Controlling is his game, oh
When did “scarcasm” get so cool?
Isn’t this against the rules?
Not when the boss’ bud, oh.

Why does he just pick on me?
The Guy should be ashamed, oh
Is he green with jealousy?
Or just a red bull guy, oh…

B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y…
And Bully Guy’s his name, sigh.

Meetings are ruled by his “facts”
There is no room for doubt, oh
Speaking up gets you the axe
Or, he will just storm out, oh.

Just because he makes it rain
All look the other way, oh
While morale goes down the drain
Does money make a hero?

B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y…
And Bully Guy’s his name, sigh.

I must learn to take a stand
And overcome self-blame, oh
Not just bow to his demands
Nor play the helpless zero.

I will find one trustworthy
To talk out all my pain, oh
Then stand tall as an oak tree
Or walk away, nothing to say
But with my head held high, oh…

B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y…
And Bully Guy’s his name, sigh.

Now I see…the real tragedy
Leaders’ heads in the sand, oh
A virus kills a company
When no one takes command, oh…

B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y… B-U-L-L-Y…
I’ve overcome self-doubt, oh
B-R-A-V-O… B-R-A-V-O… B-R-A-V-O…
I will give a shout, oh
No longer just an also ran
I now am my own wo/man
Cause I got the way hell out, Oh, Yeah!


© Mark Gorkin  2017
Shrink Rap ™ Productions

10. Perceive, Play, Practice, Pilot, and Project.  You might call these “The Five Voice-Performance ‘P’s”:
1) Perceive and be curious about your inner voice and vision
2) Play with it; try out different sounds, shades, and dimensions
3) Practice with purpose:  what will be your agenda, structure, and key objectives
4) Pilot in front of an audience (or two or three)
5) Project your new voice…perceive the feedback…Then repeat the five-voice cycle!

You can find and evolve a voice for just about any age and stage.  Consider these inspiring words of acclaimed medical pioneer, Dr. Jonas Salk:  Evolution is about getting up one more time than you fall down; about being courageous one more time than you are fearful; and about being trusting just one more time than you are anxious.  All I can add is, Amen and women, to that!

Closing:  The Stress Doc’s Finding Your Voice Lessons – Skills and Strategies 1-10:

1.  Confront Your Intimate FOE
2.  Play with a Child
3.  Try Poetry and Pictures
4.  Be Out-Rage-ous
5.  Recognize It’s a Digital World.
6.  Quietly Listen and Blend the Unconscious and the Conscious
7.  Envision a “Cutting Edge” Voice
8.  Reflect on Nature
9.  Allow Yourself to Be Challenged
10. Perceive, Play, Practice, Pilot, and Project



Mark Gorkin, MSW, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, a nationally acclaimed speaker, writer, and "Psychohumorist" ™, is a founding partner and Stress Resilience and Trauma Debriefing Consultant for the Nepali Diaspora Behavioral Health & Wellness Initiative.  Current Leadership Coach/Training Consultant for the international Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University at the Daytona, FL headquarters.  A former Stress and Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service, he has led numerous Pre-Deployment Stress Resilience-Humor-Team Building Retreats for the US Army.  Presently Mark does Critical Incident Debriefing for organizational/corporate clients of Business Health Services.  The Doc is the author of Practice Safe Stress, The Four Faces of Anger, and Preserving Human Touch in a High Tech World.  Mark’s award-winning, USA Today Online "HotSite"www.stressdoc.com – was called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR).  For more info, email:  stressdoc@aol.com.